Monday, December 05, 2022

Holiday Plum Pudding recipe that I made in 2022

 So I did what I do when I want to make something new.  I got out a load of books from my library, the old family recipes, and my historical cookbooks.  This is the recipe I came up with.  It's a lot more flexible than most, but I've made it a few times and it is amazing!  Someone asked for it on reddit, but the post ended up being too long so I decided to share it here.  

Variations of the pudding go back a few thousand years so the recipes are more of a guide.  If you want the full Dickens pudding, go with brandy and suet as they would be staple ingredients this time of year.  If you can, get the shredded suet from one of the small butchers rather than the commercial stuff as that has a few extra ingredients in it and often doesn't taste as fresh.

This is close to the Victorian Pudding.  The recipe is heavily influenced by the family recipe which comes to us from the late Victorian period, but with more flexibility because dry fruit is expensive.  Apricots, raisins, and plums are my favourite mix.  Dates go well in it too.  But traditionally, people would use what they had to hand.  

It's usually made a month in advance, kept at room temp to cure, and boiled for one hour before serving.  I've read suggestions that this will keep 13 months at room temp, but I always eat it way before that.

The day before the big boil

- >500g dry fruit

- <100g candy peal (if you can't get it, chop up the peal of an organic orange or blood orange or leave it out)

- <100g candy cherries

- 150-200ml brandy

Mix together, cover with a cloth, and leave 12-48 hours, stirring at least once every 12 hours.

On the day

- 1 cup flour

- 2 tsp baking powder

- >100g bread crumbs

- 150g ground or shredded suet

- 1 tsp each spices of your choice (the more the better - chinamon, cloves, ginger, etc... adjust to your taste)

- pinch salt

- <150g brown sugar

- 1 apple or quince cored, peeled and grated

- 3-5 eggs

- zest and juice of an orange (optional - organic if possible)

Mix dry together.  Mix wet into dry.  Add soaked fruit.  Hold back the liquor and add as needed for texture.  It should be a very thick batter.

Now, this is very important if you are going for the Victorian traditions - everyone in the household has to have a good old stir.  Wishing is traditional.  

Wrap in pudding cloth (tightly woven cotton that has been recently boiled and rubbed with oil and flour on the inside) or into a pudding mould.   I don't put trinkets in my pudding as I don't want anyone to break a tooth, but now's the time to do it.  Be sure to boil the trinkets well to clean them first.  

Now to steam or boil the pudding.   Either is fine for this one, but if you are steaming maybe add another hour or two.  If you want to go full traditional, we'll boil it in a cloth.

Lightly boil a large square (about 2' per side) of tightly woven cotton or linen.  While wet and hot, place it wrong-side-up on a clean counter and rub some oil into the cloth (concentrate on the centre) then sprinkle some flour on top of the oiled cloth.  Turn the batter onto the cloth and tie it up with some string.  Place gently into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 6-8 hours (you can't over boil) being sure to check the water frequently if it needs topping up.

Alternatively, if you have a pressure cooker, it takes about an hour and a half at high pressure, slow release.  

When cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool.  Hang in a dark place until the feast day.  Then boil for one hour before serving.  

Do you have a favourite holiday dessert recipe you love?  Want to share?

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Further adventures of the Duffle Coat - pattern problems

 It's been difficult to work on my Albion Coat when the weather has been so warm.  But the rains are trying to break through and it's now cool enough in the mornings to light the woodstove until the sun is high enough to heat the house.  

So I'm spending that half an hour of coolness between the time I light the fire and my coffee is finished brewing and ... what's a good way to say "getting drunk" without it sounding like my coffee is boozing it up at 6am?  Anyway, I'm spending that time working on my Duffle Coat.

The worst part so far was cutting up the paper for the PDF pattern.  There is so much wasted paper in this pattern (and yes, I checked the measurement to make sure it was printing the right size).   It's especially noticeable after working on that free PDF pattern for my cloak where I didn't have to cut up any pieces of paper.  Here, I'll show the difference.

The pattern on the left is from the cloak, the one on the right is from the Albion Duffle Coat.  Both are formatted to print on North American or Metric paper, and yet here we are.  So much wasted space on the right one.  I feel like they could have reduced the paper by almost a quarter by doing better with the margins.

Saturday, October 08, 2022

Sewing a homegrown cloak - Mood winterberry cloak pattern

Wow, I may have just jumped the shark here, but I did it.  I made a cloak, entirely by hand, using traditional methods, from sheep to finished clothing!

For those of you new to the adventure, you can catch the full playlist here.

Basically, I gave in to peer pressure and put my life on hold to make this cloak.  It turned out amazing, but I still have a lot of work to do to finish it up.  Something to keep me busy this winter.

I want to talk about the pattern because the video was long and I edited that bit out.  Also I don't really feel qualified to assess a sewing pattern as a complete N00b!

Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Learning a new craft - and a teaser

 I get obsessed when learning a new craft.  I take great pleasure in learning everything and to find out what the limits of the craft are, what my limits doing that craft are, and what happens when I push past those limits.

Last month, I experimented with pushing past those limits - twice.

First, I finally took the dive into making a fully (ish) homegrown garment from sheep to wearable clothing.  To keep me focused, I gave myself a timeframe - one month - to get it done.  

I choose the wrong month because September is pretty much the busiest time on the farm and the only month of the year the weather is friendly, so I'm regretting this.

But the yarn community is lovely and supportive.  Sure there are opinions, but so long as we remember when someone says "the best way" or "the right way" what they really mean is "this worked well for me", it's much easier to deal with absolutes.

The second limit was to see if I could make videos about this adventure on a time budget.  (time budget?  deadline).  

I did better than I expected.  

And worse.

The thing I'm learning about making videos is that it is a craft - like knitting, spinning, weaving...

I talked about how the craft of weaving has its own personality (ISTP on the Myers-Briggs scale).  I suspect we could do that for any craft.  Video editing and youtube creation is no exception.  Actually, I think it might be entirely off the scale.  

But first, proof that I did finish the cloak in time - even if I'm still struggling to finish the video.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Edititus Troglodytus (and a cloak update)

 Edititus Troglodytus: a subspecies of the Homo sapiens who dwells in dark grey caverns and worships glowing screens while moving around little boxes that look thus

The Cloak is done ... well...

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Weaving a homegrown cape - #CAPEtember2022

Woot!  I made cloth!

It's yardage now and it is more beautiful than I could have expected.  The weaving took longer than I had hoped.  I think that's because I rushed through the spinning so quickly that I didn't get as consistent a yarn as I prefer.  

I'm a fairly good weaver but I do have my comfort zone and this wasn't in it.  

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Because... does one have to have a reason?


Actually, there is a pretty good reason.  I wanted to understand how circle cloaks work so I made some tiny mockups.  And since the only thing I have that resembles a doll are these chickens... 

So what did I learn?